Cape Breton Day 3

Sadly the threatened thunderstorms didn’t full their predicted potential so we experiences another day of clear blue skies for driving & poking around shops. A storm would have made for some dramatic photos. My sister & I got underway around 10:30. One stop was at a Tim Ho’s – with the infamous Lick-A-Chick across the road (the chicken crossed to get licked then deep fried). Possibly one of the most photographed spots on the island.

I was meeting a friend from Toronto, now living in NS, who as going to be in Baddeck with some friends of his from the UK so there was some texting to confirms times & such. There was lots of time for us to kill so my sister stopped at a few look-off spots. We arrived in Baddeck at least an hour before the gang.

Baddeck exists for tourists & boaters. There is a local handicraft industry that built up over the years of ceramics ($95 for a soup bowl!!), photographs, things painted on things etc. It reminded me of Niagara-on-the-Lake only the quaint here is real & not theatrical.

The gang finally arrived & we had lunch at Three Doors Down. Basic food nicely prepared but if I never eat another French Fry I’ll be happy.  Lots of chit-chat about their touring around & hotel bookings issues. My friend & I didn’t get a chance to talk though, such is life, big hugs & some photos & we headed our separate ways.

Drove back via North Sydney, which figures large in my Coal Dusters novel, so I was happy to see some of the area, in particular the waterfront. The ferry to Newfoundland departs from here. The Heritage Museum was closed though so we make another run out there so I go in get more research done for the next draft of the novel. 

A full day 🙂


August 2019 Sneak Peek

First the July recap of my on line life 🙂 My fan base continues expanded slowly but surely. WordPress followers are up to 337, Twitter at 217, & Tumblr is at 234. As you can see my popularity in India remains quite high as it leads the list of countries I get hits from. My WP hits topped 40 many days with a several of 60 hit days! The school memory posts have been fun to work on – finding pictures of the schools, making google maps shows me how much those neighbourhoods have changed.

Coal Dusters continues to grow as I get nearer the end with 119,000 words posted so far, still about 20,000 words to go. Into the final stretch. The mine has closed, Lillian has gotten married, the guys hav been caught in a compromising position. What remains? Keep reading to find out what the thrilling conclusion will be. 

My one Stratford excursion was to see  ‘Nathan the Wise’ which I throughly enjoyed: Our Father Issues Next show is Mae West’s Sex at the Shaw Festival. I’m looking forward to seeing an unexpurgated production of her play. Her film scripts were heavily censored & even then were bawdy to the extreme – “Is that gun that in your pocket? Or are you just happy to see me.” – I think that’s one of the few jokes about an erection I’ve heard in any movie.

I finally broke down & got myself prescription sunglasses. When I’m out walking I’ve been fine seeing shapes. I can see well enough to take photos but with my trip to Cape Breton pending I wanted to be able to see everything clearly. Now I see everything clearly. “Oh! That isn’t a gun in your pocket.”

Also bought some Final Touch stainless steel ice cubes at IQ Living! No more watered down ice coffee for me 🙂 Best part is that the cubes sink to the bottom of the glass so the drink cools from the bottom up.

August brings my long await trip to the east coast back to my home town of Sydney. Packing has started by picking clothes to wear – I wish one could teleport luggage – though maybe having a house fly merged with my jean’s fly insult such a pretty picture.

I have several things lined up – all very touristy mind you – a trip to Baddeck to meet friends who moved to NS a few years ago, a trip to the Fortress of Louisbourg to experience the life in the 1700’s (that’ll bring back lots of memories of unwashed, sweaty soldiers). Taking in at least one Highland Arts Theatre production, visiting some local museums, taking lots of photos. Printed out a list of the 12th step meetings which isn’t nearly as extensive as Toronto’s but there is one a day, should I choose to get to them.



I’ll be taking a media break of sorts – no TV or podcasts for ten days. Limited internet too but I will try to keep up my WP regular posts as well checking in about my excursions. I have all my music, Dusters posts done for the next two weeks.

The rest of August will be spent recovering from the Cape.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? 



For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing my growing up in Cape Breton. Check the Village Stories page for links previous pieces in this series posted in July/August 2014, July/August 2015


a famous inventor once lived in the hills

outside my village

his home was now a mausoleum to his memory

no one knew his name

not even my mother’s mother

who remembered nearly everything


once a year we would make a pilgrimage

to the inventor’s mausoleum

it took all day

and some years we couldn’t find it

my dad had no sense of direction

‘it must be around here somewhere’

but we kids didn’t mind

it was boring to see the old inventor’s creations

things that no one could operate


his most famous was the teleprompter

the first one was there for all to see

the words kept playing across it

for us to read aloud

‘thank you for looking at my invention’

the camera would be on us

as we stood there to see ourselves on TV

which was boring as hell


the other thing he was noted for

was a frying machine

that could make onions rings

with pancake dough

they tasted sort of sweet


but no one knew his name

or what he looked like

there used to be photos of him

and flock of geese he trained

to sing arias from William Tell

but those had long since been eaten

by ravaging moose

because no one cared enough

to lock up the mausoleum

to keep these relics of the past safe

mainly because no one really cared

about him anyway


we liked the pilgrimage

as a chance to get out of our little village

into the big world around us

the road was narrow and bumpy

our car would rattle at every turn

sometimes we would sing to pass the time

but mostly we kids would loll like

deflated balloons in the back of the van

till we came to a bridge

or a Dairy Queen

the Dairy Queen would get us a cold sugar fix

or maybe we would stop at a pie shop for a snack

while my Dad when into one of the local strip bars

for a ‘libation’ as he called it

children weren’t allowed

in the strip bars during the day

only at night

when there was no light

so we couldn’t see anything


each year we pestered Dad

till he agreed to take the pilgrimage

to the mausoleum

even when reminded us of how boring it was

we insisted

we realized he was right

we dreaded each turn

that brought us closer and closer

he would have to force us out

of the van when we got there

threatening us with his tried vengeance

as if the vengeance

of such a boring past wasn’t enough

as if not knowing the name

of the great inventor

wasn’t loss enough

to make us give up on caring about history

whatever what history was

there wasn’t enough

in the present to keep us happy


why bother

with this deadly

unchanging past



If you know anything about Cape Breton besides thd coal mining history it’s that Alexander Graham Bell lived there for decades. This piece is a direct homage to how his memory has become crucial to the tourist trade, to a need for the Island to be more than just a backwater financial drain – we have famous people here.27brick02I reverse the nature of fame somewhat – not knowing the name as opposed to knowing the name but not to know why they are famed. I have had to explain who Bell was more than once. Silver Dart – who ever heard of it? Even Ashely McIssac has been mostly forgotten.27brick03There is a museum in Baddeck – very 50’s 60’s in architecture – which as the piece says, our family would visit at least once a summer, more for the drive & the ice cream than for the learning about Bell potential. The exhibits weren’t nearly as wacky as the ones I’ve invented but were as banal, unless you were a real Bell buff. I mix real with silly – he did have flocks of geese.27brick04Of course I pull in some of the tropes of this mythology – the moose can’t get enough magic. I venture into the notion that the past isn’t enough to keep us from moving forward. Like many of these later pieces the push my hero feels to move on is underscored in different ways. Here it is the one that know this history isn’t enough to keep him happy in this present. soon

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –


check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015:


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh?

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